The National:

ANDY Burnham’s comments on nationalism are yet another example of Labour politicians wilfully misunderstanding and mispresenting our progressive and inclusive campaign for Scottish independence.

Let’s consider Burnham’s claim that nationalism “of any kind” is “never a force for good”. That’s an intellectually lazy and misinformed statement at best, and one completely detached from reality when applied to the motivation for supporting independence in Scotland – both in terms of the pro-independence party of government and the wider independence movement.

This is a force in Scottish politics that delivered an SNP Government in 2007 – a pro-independence government that’s the complete antithesis of what Burnham suggests. The SNP, in its values and policies, is motivated entirely by a desire to make life better for people in Scotland, and to be a force for good within the international community, as an equal partner. The SNP believes that the best way to deliver that is through democracy for our country – the power to make our own decisions about life in Scotland with independence.

This is a force that has delivered a progressive policy agenda in Scotland; ironically with many outcomes that Burnham would undoubtedly wish to see in the part of the world he represents. I’m sure he deplores the Tories' ideologically-fuelled erosion of social security. So do we. I wonder if he’s aware of the vastly different approach of the SNP Government, who have been building a social security system based on dignity, fairness and respect, in partnership with those who have lived experience of the system.

Then we have Burnham’s assertion that nationalism is about "dividing people". Last time I checked, the entire planet was organised into units called countries – 193 members of the United Nations, and up from 51 at the time of formation. Independence for countries is the normal state of affairs. Support for independence in Scotland is simply a desire for equality within this global system. Far from division, we want to join this international community.

I suspect Burnham isn’t viewing our campaign for independence through that wider prism though, and has fallen into the tired old trap of thinking that independence is about Scotland separating from England. Why on earth would we want to cut ties with our neighbours and friends? We don’t want to end the relationship we have with the rest of the UK; we simply want to redefine that relationship, and be able to engage as equals.

And when it comes to accusations of sowing division, I would respectfully point out it was his Labour party selling immigration control mugs; not the SNP – a party that has consistently highlighted the benefits of immigration and actively called for people to move to here and make Scotland their home.

So the recent comments from ex-Corbyn adviser James Schneider that with independence we are just as likely to get a "Scottish Boris Johnson" display an embarrassing lack of understanding of what’s going on here in Scotland. And the danger of remaining part of the UK is that the best we might get is another Tony Blair.

People in Scotland aren’t going to be fooled by this narrative coming from The Labour Party, which merely reinforces Labour’s decline in Scotland. Why? Because people have lived under an SNP Government for 14 years, and they know from experience that an SNP Government is working in their best interests. This continued and quite remarkable support for a government of this length of tenure is because Scotland’s pro-independence government not only delivers policies to make life better for people now, but also hope and a route map to a better future with independence.